Exploring a Nonbinary Approach to Health Holding space for inclusive and expansive langauge in maternal and child health

Jun 02, 2023

“Hi! My name is Natalia, and my pronouns are she/her/hers.” The first time I heard this introduction, I was confused. I mean, it was obvious to me that Natalia was a woman. Why were we spending time identifying the obvious?

Then I remembered my friend’s child. Assigned female at birth, at four years old Emma (a pseudonym, story shared with permission) started talking about not feeling like a girl and became increasingly sad and withdrawn over the next several years. After a long, thoughtful exploratory process with her family and an informed therapist, Emma adopted a new name, Justice, and a new set of pronouns — they/them/theirs. It was a little confusing for us to understand at first, and then hard for me to remember the new pronouns — but my kids were very good at reminding me. Over time, I realized that it came down to my comfort versus theirs. Seeing this child thrive in the non-binary space that our family helped support makes it all seem worthwhile.